Platform shoes have appeared for centuries in cultures around the world. In ancient Greece, actors wore thick-soled shoes to heighten their stature before their audience. In Europe, from about 1600-1750, some women in high society wore tall pedestal shoes called copines. Thick platform shoes were fashionable in the Manchu culture of Northeast China. Japan’s platform sandals became part of the traditional dress of geishas.
Currently running at the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, USA, The Heights of Fashion: Platform Shoes Then and Now showcases more than 60 platform shoes from the 1930s through the present. Ranging from the delicate “lotus bud shoes” of 19th century China designed to emphasize women’s tiny bound feet to the chunky Goth platforms of the 1980s, the shoes on exhibit demonstrate how extreme variations on a style developed in response to different cultural philosophies and concepts of beauty.
The Heights of Fashion will be on display at the Mint Museum of Art through spring 2011. For more information, visit http://www.mintmuseum.org/.